On 1 November 2020, it was announced that YoungDementia UK had merged with Dementia UK (click here to read more). All of the team at YoungDementia UK transferred over to Dementia UK and the weeks since the merger have been busy and exciting for us all. Whilst it will take time and careful planning to integrate the work of the two charities, we wanted to share an update on how things are progressing.
Tessa, as the new Programme Director for Young Onset Dementia, has been familiarising herself with the wealth of expertise held by colleagues within Dementia UK. It has been a pleasure to find a good foundation to build on - with young onset Admiral Nurses already in post, knowledge of the different needs of people affected by young onset and a determination to create a Programme that will include the increase of face to face and digital specialist support, and growing the membership and impact of the Young Dementia Network to improve support for all. There is a willingness within Dementia UK to invest in innovative models of support and the one being developed in Oxfordshire with the Young Onset Admiral Nurse and Young Onset Dementia Advisors providing a range of complex and peer support has great potential for replication.
The coronavirus pandemic has made it a challenging time for our Young Onset Dementia Advisors (YODA), Liz and Mandy and the people they support. During the periods of lockdown, they have not been able to offer face to face visits, but they have kept in touch with people over the phone, by email and via Zoom. They have introduced a new digital drop in service and have kept Young Dementia Oxfordshire members connected with each other via regular virtual groups. Our private Facebook group has gone from strength to strength with 52 members and a real community spirit building.
The merger has strengthened our ability to offer more wide-ranging support in the county. There are plans to recruit a third YODA and for the Oxfordshire service to be supported by an Admiral Nurse. Liz and Mandy are looking forward to their support offering in Oxfordshire growing and developing in the coming months and years.
Kate in communications has been working hard with the Dementia UK communications team looking at the YoungDementia UK website, social media platforms and newsletters and rebranding the Young Dementia Oxfordshire service. She is very excited by the opportunity the merger presents to be able to share young onset news and information with a wider audience and to raise the profile and understanding of the condition.
Our database administrator Catherine K has been working with Dementia UK around merging our databases and mailing lists. She has also been analysing the feedback from a recent Young Dementia Network survey and has completed a project updating the Find support section of the website, where young onset dementia groups and services are listed.
Alison and Catherine H in our fundraising team have been thrilled by the positive response from existing supporters and funders. They are busy planning ways to acknowledge this support, plus working with their new colleagues to develop exciting propositions for 2021. Watch this space. And in the meantime, donations can still be made to support people whose lives are affected by young onset dementia via our donation pages. All donations will be restricted by Dementia UK and used to develop and increase support and information for people affected by young onset dementia.
- December 2020